This morning in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, former Vice President Dick Cheney stridently defended Bush era torture programs, calling harsh interrogation tactics “the most important steps we took that kept us safe for 7 years.” He also advocated reinstating waterboarding, telling Wallace that enhanced interrogation “worked, and provided absolutely vital pieces of information.”
Cheney resurrected an old GOP talking point in insisting that waterboarding was not torture, despite testimony of people like CIA Director Leon Panetta to the contrary. “It was a good program, it was a legal program, it was not torture,” Cheney maintained. Watch it:
Many former Bush administration officials have falsely credited torture tactics with leading to the raid on Osama bin Laden, but Cheney went further by insisting that torture was the key policy that has kept the country safe for a decade after the September 11th attacks.
Cheney also echoed former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and chastised Obama for “prosecuting” the intelligence officers who tortured detainees. “These men deserve to be decorated, they don’t deserve to be prosecuted,” he told Wallace, calling it “an outrage that we would go after the people who deserve the credit for keeping us safe for seven and a half years.” While the Obama administration in fact decided long ago not to prosecute any CIA agents involved in torture, Cheney nevertheless suggested Obama has been so relentless in going after those responsible that “these guys…have to look over their shoulder.”
Finally, Cheney had tough words for the Obama administration when it came to Libya. He smirked when Wallace mentioned the policy described as “leading from behind,” and admonished Obama for turning over operational control of the mission to NATO. He further tried to suggest weakness on the president’s part by telling Wallace, “the policy of the administration has been to hope for Gadaffi’s departure but not be prepared to do enough to make sure it happens.” Most gallingly, one week after Obama took decisive action to eliminate the world’s most notorious terrorist, Cheney said “it’s not clear to me that this administration is up to the task” of taking out Gadaffi.